Schoolyear Reset
Tuesday, 06 September 2022

  • Tags:
  • Encouragement
  • Journey
  • Organization
  • Planning

Homeschooling. You wrap up your school year. Sometimes you already have next year's curriculum ready to go. Sometimes you wait to order until you have the previous year's curriculum sorted and removed. You can have a summer break, but you might not take much of one. You pick a start date, but then things change.

I always get the curriculum for the following year a few months before we wrap up the current year. It gives me plenty of time to clean out when we are done with our evaluations, then spiral bind the curriculum and organize everything to be ready for the coming year. You can see how I organize here. Then I plan out our school year calendar on the Homeschool Hub, setting a start date that I feel will give us a good summer break. Of course, my kids generally start asking if they can do a "little bit of school" early in July, so I readjust the calendar quite a few times before our scheduled start date. But for me, that "OFFICIAL" start date is more than just the day we are starting school. That start date is my day to reset.

As I wrap up the year and assemble portfolios, I make mental notes of what worked that year, what I need to change, what can be tweaked, and what needs to be scrapped completely. And then I formulate. All summer, I'm planning and formulating – testing ideas and scrapping them for new ideas. I want each year to be better than the year before. I want things to run more smoothly. And not just for school but also for our daily life. And trying to change gears in the middle of the school year has proven difficult in the past. And implementing new ideas in the middle of summer, when we don't have a routine, is even worse. So, Day 1 of school is our official reset. What are our goals this year?

Goal 1 – Keep order in the home. In the past, I've assigned chores via charts, lists, and verbal directions. But when I'm also trying to do my own tasks, I have a hard time following up with the kids when they finish a task to check and see that it was done to expectation. This year, I've implemented room lists. In their spaces (bedroom and bathroom), I have created reminder lists titled "Do Not Leave this Room Until…" and then listed out all the basic tasks that they need to complete before leaving the room. I'm hoping that making each of them responsible for checking up on themselves will maintain a level of order that has been missing in our lives. They KNOW that they should put dirty clothes in the hamper or put the toys away, but sometimes they think they'll do it when they come back. And then they forget. The thought behind this new method is to teach them to observe the things that I am observing so they don't need to have things pointed out to them before they see that they need to be done.

Goal 2 – Take responsibility for yourself. When we completed Footsteps for Fours, I purchased a book called If Everybody Did. It was actually covered again in Reading 1. We read that book often. It's a fun book that basically shows that if everyone contributes to the "mess" and no one contributes to the "cleanup," it's a total disaster. But if each person takes care of his or her own things, the disaster is averted. I repeat, "I am one person. I cannot take care of the messes of 4 other people by myself." I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like I spend my days cleaning up one mess after the other, only to turn around and see that I'm being followed by the mess-makers, making more messes. And my big struggle is between making them clean it up, knowing that it won't be done to my standards and won't be done efficiently, or doing it myself and having them become accustomed to Mom being the one to do the cleanup.

The third option that I've used is incredibly frustrating for me, and that's to sit there and WATCH them the whole time they are doing something, just to make sure it's done correctly and completely, so I don't have to find them and chase them back to the job later. So, this year, they have their" Do Not Leave" lists, and I added one to each desk. It is now on them to take responsibility for themselves. And they have already been informed of the consequences if they fail to take this seriously, so it is completely on them to take responsibility for themselves. (They are 11 & 13 and are more than capable of doing what is expected.)

Goal 3 – Have time to do extras! When I spend most of my running around trying to catch up on all the housework for a family of 6 and running kids to activities, I have very little capacity to do any fun extra things. There are field trips, hikes, playdates, and crafts/activities I'd LOVE to do with the kids that we haven't done because doing them would mean that I'd get even further behind, so our field trips and extra activities were rare. If we are able to meet goals 1 & 2, then goal 3 should be a given! And we can also look for opportunities to serve others throughout the year.

The start of the school year is my reset every year, and I look forward to it. They aren't DRASTIC changes, but little tweaks to make improvements and to help my children learn responsibility as they grow into adults. We've covered the skills in the past (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.), so I feel like this year is a big shift from expecting them to just do what they're instructed to now taking responsibility to do what is expected without me giving constant instruction. We also have a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, so I'll be working daily with them on their basic skills as we enter this new stage in life.

Meet the Author

Abigail Knott - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant